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ToddStark September 6th, 2009 04:11 PM

Gregory Berns: Iconoclast - video clip
Great clip of neuroscientist Greg Berns on the point of neuroeconomics and his new book on thinking differently and people who think differently: Iconoclast. Makes a nice intro to the state of sciences of decision making.

Midway through the clip, Berns introduces the original research he did that led to his subsequent book. He attempted to replicate Solomon Asch's conformity experiment, only using mental rotation rather than line lengths, and monitoring people with fMRI during the experiment.

He was trying to distinguish two competing hypotheses of conformity: (1) that people perceive accurately but then report consistently with the group for social reward, or (2) that people actually perceive differently based on what the rest of the group perceives.

Based on brain activity, Berns thinks there is evidence for (2). He also found support for the hypothesis that it is punishing to go against the group.

He studied famous iconoclasts and concludes that three factors are needed to be a successful rebellious thinker:

(1) to perceive differently than the group rather than being subject to the putative perceptual conformity effect,

(2) to withstand the emotional pressure against being different, and

(3) to have the people skills to get your ideas noticed

Great thinkers lacking in any of these, Berns believes, simply cannot stand out from the crowd.

kind regards,


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